Adam Chappell – Nine Weeks

 Author PhotoAdam Chappell, a thirty-one year old father of two and software engineer at MDS Limerick, is an active member of the Limerick Writer’s Association and has previously been published in Silver Apples Magazine as well as being long listed for the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition 2015.

Nine Weeks

By Adam Chappell

September 7th – Sunday
Aoife told me she was pregnant today. We were sitting on the wall behind my house and she just said it. I sat there feeling stupid till she got pissed off with me but I just couldn’t think of anything to say so I stayed quiet. Even when she called me an arsehole and stormed off I just sat there looking at my feet. I’ll see her in school tomorrow and tell her I’m sorry. I think I was just in shock.

September 10th – Wednesday
Apparently Aoife told her friend Sinead because she came up after school and smacked me across the face. In front of all my mates and everything. The lads had a great laugh at that but I said nothing. It’d only make things worse if I told them. Not that it matters anyway because Aoife still won’t talk to me. She keeps walking off whenever she sees me and she hangs up every time I call. I’m not giving up though.

September 12th – Friday
At last she speaks. Aoife was waiting for me at lunch and we went off together for the whole break. For a while I even forgot about the baby because we were just hanging out, like normal, like before. I got to tell her I was sorry and she kissed me so I’d say I’m ok. We decided to tell our parents this weekend and I’m bricking it. Aoife says she thinks the baby’s six weeks.

September 13th – Saturday
Mam cried when I told her. It took her ages to stop and my dad got mad at me and shouted for a while before he calmed down. Aoife’s telling her folks tomorrow night and I said I’d ring her after. She said she was terrified of what her dad would say but her mam would be alright. I’d say my lot’ll be fine anyway. Mam’s already starting to come around I think and dad brought a cup of tea up to my room when I was doing my homework.

September 14th – Sunday
Aoife’s dad came to the house after dinner today. He was fuming and mam wouldn’t let him in because he was shouting so much. I just hid in my room while my dad went out and talked to him. I could hear them out there and he said if I ever came near his daughter again he’d beat the crap out of me. Mam says I should leave them off a while and he’ll calm down. She said she’d talk to Aoife’s mother and they’d work it out between them. I tried calling Aoife a couple of times but her phone was off.

September 21st – Sunday
My brother Mark came home from college this weekend and mam told him. He’s been calling me stud ever since and last night he brought a few cans up to my room after the parents had gone to bed. We didn’t really talk about anything but it was good to forget for a while and I told him so. He’s gone back now but he said he’d come home again soon.

September 23rd – Tuesday
Aoife came over with her parents for dinner. Her dad kept staring at me but at least he wasn’t shouting. I offered to drop out of school and get a job but my dad said not to be stupid and even Aoife’s dad said I shouldn’t do it. They said they’d look after us, her lot and mine, until we both graduate. Aoife’s dad runs a joinery and he said I could work there once school is done, even though I don’t do woodwork. I’m starting to think we’ll be ok.

October 1st – Wednesday
I can’t do this. I’m too young to be a dad. Christ, I’d run away now if I thought I could live with myself. What kind of father would do that? I tried to talk to Aoife about it but she just started crying and told me to fuck off if I wanted to go so much. I tried to explain it but I kept getting things wrong so I gave up. In the end she said she thought we should take a break from each other. I don’t want to lose her but I think I’ve messed it up too much this time.

October 21st – Tuesday
She kissed me today. It was at lunch time and I’m still giddy. I asked her to be my girlfriend again and she smiled so I think that’s a yes. She said she has an appointment at the hospital next week and I can come if I want. We might even get a scan done.

October 29th – Wednesday
We had the appointment but it was packed so we didn’t get a scan. Apparently there’s a baby boom on and they’re snowed under. Aoife brought Sinead with her, which I was a bit pissed off about, but it was grand in the end. She’s actually kind of nice when she’s not slapping people. A nurse had a chat with us about what looking after a baby is like. She said it isn’t that hard it’s just really tiring. She kept telling us different ways we could do things for cheap, like when the baby is tiny we could pull a drawer out of one of the presses and use it as a cot. I told her our parents would be helping and she said that’s good because we’d need it. We’ve another appointment next week for the scan and the nurse said only two of us can go in so it’ll be just me and Aoife. I’m really looking forward to it.

November 6th – Thursday
We had the scan. The woman doing it was all chat until she just shut up. Then she went and got the nurse from last time and we were taken to a big pink place called the rose room. They said the baby had no heart beat and had stopped growing at about nine weeks. Aoife was in bits and she cried on my shoulder for ages. The nurses said we could take our time and left us there. I just stared out the window. There was a tree right outside and the buds were just coming out but then the sky got dark and before long the branches were whipping about in the rain. Aoife’s mam drove us both home and the whole time I kept thinking about that night when I wanted to run away. I had asked god to save me from having a baby and I even promised to break up with Aoife if he did it. That would have been about the nine week mark. I’m not going to leave her though.

November 12th – Wednesday
Aoife broke up with me. She said being around me is too painful and I suppose I understand. It hasn’t been the same between us since the baby. I told my mate Paul about it and he said I’d dodged a bullet. I tried to explain how it was my fault because I prayed we’d lose it but he just looked at me like I was mental so I shut up. I miss Aoife but I don’t think she’s coming back.

November 28th – Friday
Today was Aoife’s last day before she moves school. Her dad says a new start would be good for her and he wants her to be in a convent. None of the other girls here are talking to her anymore anyway and the lads say she’s a slut. I tried to stand up for her but she said I was only making it worse. Not that it matters because she’s leaving. I miss her.

September 2nd – Wednesday
Today was my first day of college and it was great. We got shown all over the campus and a load of companies came handing out free stuff. I saw Aoife as well. I didn’t even know she was coming here. She was in another group and I don’t think she saw me but she looked well, much happier than before, and I hope I run into her again. It’d be good to talk.

September 10th – Thursday
I saw Aoife again. She was in the student’s union bar with her boyfriend, some big rugby looking guy with his hands all over her. I know I’ve no right to get upset and I’ve been with a couple of girls since her too but it still hurt. She saw me this time and she seemed kind of shocked so I bolted. I don’t know why I was so surprised she was with someone. I suppose I just never thought about her moving on before.

October 9th – Friday
So I went to the first years’ ball with my mates last night and Aoife was there with her boyfriend. I got drunk and tried to talk to her but he hit me and now I’ve a black eye. I think I deserved it though because I kind of remember pushing him first. Things’d be so much easier if I could just stop thinking about her, only I don’t know how.

October 14th – Wednesday
Aoife’s friend was sat in front of me in the computer lab today and when I got home I found a note with Aoife’s number on it in my bag. It took me ages to work up the guts to text her but when I did we talked for hours. She told me she broke up with her boyfriend but she thinks she needs a break from men for a while. I said I understood but I asked could we keep texting anyway, as friends or whatever, and she said ok. It was really good to talk to her again.

November 12th – Thursday
Laura, from my class, asked me out today after our chemistry lecture. I said I couldn’t but I don’t know why. I suppose I’m still just hoping Aoife will change her mind. We talk most days, about nothing really, but there’s still a big distance between us. She didn’t even seem bothered when I told her about Laura.

November 17th – Tuesday
Aoife turned up on my doorstep today, just out of the blue. We went up to my room and we talked for ages. I even told her about how losing the baby was my fault. She said she had wished she was free of it a few times too but she didn’t think it was the reason we lost it. She told me she had named him Charlie after me and I cried a little at that. Then I asked her could I see her again, like before, and she kissed me and said ok. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.



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